Let them go

People with power have impact. They are agents of change. Empowered people are enabled and released to make a difference, usually in new arenas of influence and responsibility.

Preparing to let them go

Coach before and while letting go. My experience indicates many organizations train people, but very few coach. Coaching an employee means you progressively develop their skills and the behaviors they need to become effective change agents.

Telling isn’t coaching. For example, telling a Little League player to hit the ball isn’t coaching. Coaches break processes down into progressive steps before they release players to go to bat on their own.

The most difficult aspect of empowering others may be releasing them. Release them too soon and they fail in discouragement. Release them too late and they’re frustrated with unchallenging work.

I was 16 the first time I spoke to a large group. It was a fiasco. I had desire. However, I was thrown into the deep end of the pool with no instruction or coaching. I’m glad I had the opportunity but it was poorly handled. The result of my experience was I learned I didn’t know much.

When to let them go?

Release people after preparation but before they are completely ready. Expect them to rise to the challenge. Coach them through their first challenges.

Hindrances to letting them go

#1. No strategy for dealing with failure beyond fear

#2. Highly political environments where leaders build their reputation by using others

#3. Failure to designate support resources

#4. Failure to give create clear objectives

#5. Failure to create accountability

#4. Lack of trust

#5. Contentment with the present – not wanting others to change anything

Tip: If “they” won’t let you go

Take control by bringing your micromanager in early. Teach them to coach you.


How do you prepare people for new challenges?

How do you release them to become agents of positive change?